Last month, President Trump issued a long overdue set of executive orders covering the activities of public sector unions in the federal government and addressing the difficulty managers encounter in trying to remove poor performers (or even convicted criminals) from their jobs. These measures included clamping down on what’s known as “official time” where employees who are union officials can spend unlimited time doing union work while they are on the clock, sometimes doing zero work for the public. In what was a wholly predictable response, one of the largest unions representing federal workers has now petitioned the courts to put a hold on these reforms while they appeal. (Government Executive)
The nation’s second largest federal employee union has filed an injunction to prevent the implementation of two of President Trump’s recent executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire poor performers and curbing the ability of employee groups to represent federal workers.
The National Treasury Employees Union on Friday filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent the orders governing official time and streamlining the firing process from going into effect until the resolution of their lawsuit.
Earlier this month, NTEU challenged the legality of two of the administration’s three recent orders, arguing that they violate provisions of the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act. Last week, the union also amended its complaint to move the suit from the Eastern District for Virginia to D.C. and added a section regarding the orders’ impact on established grievance procedures.
As I said, there’s no surprise in this. The real question is how much power and influence still resides with the unions and if that will carry over to help them convince a court to go against the President on these executive orders. There’s been no shortage of judges in various districts who are willing to do so, but they haven’t fared all that well when their decisions make it to the Supreme Court.
More the point, however, is the question of how the public will react, specifically those who work in the private sector. Let’s think about precisely what it is that the unions are claiming to be violations of their rights. They object to the idea that people who perform poorly at their jobs or even act in a criminal fashion can be removed in as little as a couple of months rather than dragging out the process for years in many cases.
They’re fighting for the “right” to have union officers who are being paid by the taxpayers in ostensibly government jobs spending all of their time on “union business” rather than doing any actual government work. They are resisting any change to a system where they essentially look at their government jobs as a right, while the vast majority of Americans can only keep their jobs based on merit. (And sometimes not even then if the economy takes a downturn.) Do you really think they’re going to be getting a lot of sympathy on this front?
Still, despite fighting for a preposterous notion, the union will no doubt have a large, vocal cheering section among Democrats since they will be perceived as RESISTING Trump. And since they’re filing in DC, they’ll probably find a judge to back them up on the first round. I hope I’m wrong about that, but history is a harsh mistress.